What makes up a successful soccer team? What qualities does it need to have? What aspects need to be considered when building a successful soccer program?
A successful soccer team is like a machine; a well balanced collection of pieces and parts playing their own individual roles. If each piece is playing its proper role, then the machine works smoothly and has much promise for success. On the flip side, if pieces of the machine neglect their roles or try to accomplish roles contrary to their assignments, the machine will cease to work; let alone be successful. When you look at any great soccer team, you will find they each are made up of the following 3 components:
Each of these components have different valued characteristics, jobs and roles that need to be undertaken in order for the team to be successful. In Part 1, we'll examine the different aspects that successful soccer players must consider!
PLAYERS - Let's face it....without players a soccer team doesn't exist. But is there a difference between players on the field and contributors to the team? Very much so! On every soccer team, there is a mix of strengths, weaknesses, attitudes, personalities and more. So what is the job of a successful teammate?
Effort - Players are the part of the team expected to put in the physical effort on and off the field. That means in practice, at games, in personal training and on your own time. If you are at practice, are you putting 110% effort into each exercise? If you don't understand an exercise, are your trying your hardest to be "coachable" or do you get defensive? When you make a mistake and lose possession, do you try your hardest to regain possession immediately? How hard are you trying to improve? Are you working on your technical skills and fitness outside of practice? Soccer is like school (hopefully only more fun!) - Practice is class, training on your own is homework and matches/tournaments are exams. Each has a crucial part to play towards your development and players that do not work on each will fall behind their peers that are improving.
Sacrifice - Players must be willing to develop and sacrifice for their team's success. That means putting the team before themselves in many aspects. If they want their team to perform well, they must be willing to sacrifice their own personal ambitions for the team to succeed. Is your coach asking you to play a position that you don't "like"? Mot likely, that is because the team needs your abilities and strengths there. Has your coach asked your team to train on your own or eat healthier to improve for the season? You may have to sacrifice certain aspects to accomplish those goals. In the end, a team is a collection of individuals working towards a common goal; not a group of individuals working only for their personal ambitions i.e. MVP every game, scoring 50 goals a game, etc.
Respect - Players must have respect ..... for their teammates, their coaches, their parents, their opponents, the referee, etc. The list goes on but respect is a crucial aspect to success. If you don't show respect to others, how can you expect others to show respect to you? Respect is a two-way street - It is earned, not given. If you want your coach to respect your decisions on the field, you must show respect to them first as your mentor. If you want your teammates to respect you, screaming or blaming them will certainly not help. If you want respect from your parents, you need to show your respect for them first. If you want your opponents to respect you, you must show it first; win or lose.
Comfort Zone - Players must be willing to step outside of what makes them comfortable on the soccer field. One of my favorite quotes is "To be successful, you must become comfortable with being uncomfortable." Basically, if you are comfortable, you are no longer being challenged to improve or develop. This could mean challenging yourself to become quicker technically with the ball, playing a different position than you normally like or allowing your coach to push your harder in practice. Everytime you hit a point of feeling comfortable, you should question "How can I push myself harder to improve?" Learning and improvement is a constant progress; the day you say you are good enough is the day you get passed up by your competition.
Team Support - With any team, there is a mix of personalities and dynamics that make up your team chemistry. It should be every single player's goal to learn how their teammates work and think in order to work together with each in support of each other. When a teammate does not deal well with failure, it should be your job to help build them up after a mistake. If your team is not playing how they should during a game, it is your job to start leading by example. If your team is consistently working to improve each other, success becomes much more obtainable. This also applies to off the field. A successful team is a support system for each other. If teammates are having problems at school or at home, it is your job to be a positive influence and support for them. Most teams that I have seen fall apart have all had a common characteristic; inflated egos and lack of team support/cohesiveness.
In the end, in any successful team you will find players that push themselves to improve, support each other and demand respect as much as they give. Each of these characteristics help players to bond together and understand how to play for each other; as opposed for themselves. Take a look at your team (or athlete). Do you see these qualities being shown and executed? Start to think how you can apply each of these successful characteristics into your gameplay so that you and your team continues to develop and improve!
Next week, we will start to examine the second part of a successful team - Successful Coaches. Stay tuned!
If you have any questions about how personal training may help your athlete to further develop their technique AND understanding of the game, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org! More details are also available on our website at www.QTSDsoccer.com.